The first two games were a miniature version of what I expect from the season. Chicago dominated the Wings in the first period, Wings tied it, lose in overtime. Against St. Louis the guys were clicking better and won 7-3. Flashes of hope, talent on display, and moments you want to turn it off.
For the guys I wanted to see, three have really been easy to watch. First, Joe Veleno. The undisputed belle of the ball for the Wings. Even “The Athletic” took notice. https://theathletic.com/1...s-push-for-a-roster-spot/
Joe has 4 goals in 2 games. The first was a throw back to Pavel Datsyuk. Steal the puck, turn around and score. The other three, he showed off how much quicker his shot is. He looks great out there. Fast, strong, and he’s telling the brass and other prospects (literally and figuratively) that he wants to take a job on the big club. He looks ready to me.
Filip Zadina is a tougher case. No goals in two games, but 4 assists. In fact, he fed Veleno for a beautiful ripper on the power play. Goals will always trump assists, but assists can be undervalued too. He’s finding his spots, he draws a crowd, and is thinking the game better. He needs to score, though. Toronto will not be an easy game for anyone. If he can find the back of the net, it will help a lot. Toronto will chew you up and spit you out at this tournament.
Moritz Seider. He is a surprise every time I see him. He can skate, he makes plays in tight with the puck, and uses his body to make space. He’s running the huddles and getting the guys on the same page. An 18 year old German prospect I knew nothing about and he looks like the leader out there. I have no idea what to expect from him, so he keeps surprising me. So many rookies aren’t comfortable taking charge but he seems to have the knack. He gets guys laughing and loose, and also can organize them on the ice. Yzerman may have found a gem here.
Givanni Smith is the last prospect I’ll touch on for now. He is working so hard out there. He had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick against St Louis. You can see how he’s developing as a person and a player. His is a tougher road. 4th year at the tournament. He’s had to find his game but I think he’s coming on. He’s a great kid and the kind we love in Detroit. Hard worker, can score, net front presence, and sticks up for his teammates. Hoping for the best for him.
I am very nervous about Toronto today. They have had 2 dominant wins over Chicago and St Louis. If the Wings are chasing the game it’s going to be a long day. We need our Defense to be solid. We’ll see how it goes.